I was supposed fly to Tasmania today. I am meant to be at a friend’s place tonight catching up and preparing to ride the Tasmanian Trail. I was going to spend the next three weeks sleeping in a tent. But, with my MTB frame broken and a trip to Kenya booked for February, I decided to spend Christmas at home. And I think it was the right choice.
My partner worked today so I cycled over to my in-laws for the annual Christmas breakfast. The ride was lovely – with everyone at home opening presents, there were almost no cars or bikes on the road. By the time I rode home late in the afternoon, things were a little busier but still relatively quiet.
But it was the time spent with family that proved to be the important part of my day. I learned a lot today. I got some food for thought (and way too much food for my tummy but I think that’s the way it is on Christmas Day). I have some things to think about in relation to my priorities in 2014.
Lesson 1: My partner’s 102yo great aunt has been coming to Christmas for three years. Before that, she had nothing to do with the family. Her only social interaction for the past 80-90 years has been people from her church. She’s a severe and extremely conservative religious woman around whom I am required to pretend I am not transgendered, and no one is allowed to swear, smoke or drink alcohol. She’s given her life to her church, but where are the people from her church now that she’s old? I see her and realise that it’s important to make time for the people who will still be in your life long after you stop doing the activities that create social experience; to recognise the difference between true relationships and activity-based interactions. That’s not to say you can’t form deep friendships through activity-based interactions – buy most of those relationships end when the activity ends (how many people in your sports team or club do you invite over to dinner with your family?).
Lesson 2: My sister-in-law lost her partner of 15 years just two days ago. I was a sudden and unexpected passing (the cause of death is still unknown). He went out to meet mates and never came home. It shows that life is short and you need to prioritise time with the people you love most.
Lesson 3: I am lucky to have both a birth and in-law family who I love.
In this final week of 2013, I need to evaluate my priorities. I need to take time to assess how I spend my time and money to get the most out of it. I like being a happy chilled person. I like spending time with family and need to make more time to see my in-laws who I generally only see 2-3 times a year but want to see more. I also need to use my holidays and money to make memories with my partner.
I have enjoyed a lot of “me time” in the past 12 months. I needed it as part of my development as a healthy individual. But now it’s time to take the next step: finding balance.
Total: 84.9km road cycle